Dr Sr Josée Ngalula of the DRC. Dr Sr Josée Ngalula of the DRC. 

Vatican: Theological Commission welcomes first-ever African woman.

Pope Francis has appointed Sister Josée Ngalula of the Democratic Republic of Congo as the first-ever African woman to be a member of the International Theological Commission.

Muando Babualo and Vatican News English Africa Service.

Pope Francis recently announced the appointment of 61-years old Sister Dr Josée Ngalula. She is a member of the Sisters of Saint Andrew. Sister Ngalula will be part of a 28-member theological Commission that comprises theologians from all over the world.

A native of Kinshasa

A native of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sister Josée Ngalula was born in Kinshasa on 28 January 1960. She attended primary school in Kinshasa before proceeding to Kinshasa’s Kimwenza High school. She joined the Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Andrew, where she took her first vows in 1979 and her perpetual vows on 21 May 1993. After studying philosophy between 1981 and 1983 at the Major Seminary of Lubumbashi, she pursued further theological studies from 1984 to 1989 at the Catholic University of Lyon in France.  After a year of English studies from 1989 to 1990, she studied Ecumenism and Interreligious Dialogue in Birmingham, UK. From 1997 to 2000, she enrolled for a doctorate at the Catholic University of Lyon and defended her thesis in 2000.

Sr Ngalula teaches in several theological institutes on the African continent. She is a professor at the Faculty of Theology of the Catholic University of Congo and also at the Al Mowafaqa Ecumenical Institute in Rabat, Morocco.

Theology is not indifferent to situations of suffering

Sister Ngalula explained that Christian theology is not indifferent to the violence that the African continent and her country, the DRC, experiences.

“The reality of violence is at the heart of the message of Christianity, which celebrates Good Friday and places Jesus Christ, the victim of violence, at the heart of the faith,” she said. She continued, “One cannot do theology without seeing Christ who challenges us in situations of suffering.”

Since 2004, she has also been providing pastoral care to victims of abuse in Catholic Church structures.

A commitment to on-going formation

Sister Ngalula spoke of her gratitude to Pope Francis for the appointment before adding that he was eagerly looking forward to contributing to the commission and learning from her colleagues on the commission.

The 28 members of the International Theological Commission comprises theologians from Europe, South America, Asia, Africa, North America and Australia. 

The commission studies and offers counsel on doctrinal issues of great importance.

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02 October 2021, 21:59